What habits do you have?  Think about your morning routines, how you put make-up on, how you get your cuppa in the morning or how you get dressed. We do most daily, repetitive activities as mindless routines. These are called habit loops. Habit loops are repetitive and routine behaviours that you may not be aware of or recognize. This is because habit loops are the autopilots of our brain.


The creator of the 5 second rule

Mel Robbins has one of the most viewd TED Talks with well over 12 million views to date. She is a funny, energized commentator, blogger, former US defence attorney and author of The 5 Second Rule Book, one of the top audio books.


The 5 second rule

The 5 second rule is a form of metacognition that gives you immediate control over your thoughts and actions. Using the rule is simple. The moment you feel your instincts (such as self-doubt) fire up just start counting backwards, to yourself, to switch the gears in your mind, 5 – 4 – 3 – 2 – 1, then give yourself a push forward.

Counting backwards requires focus and when you focus your prefrontal cortex awakens and that’s the part of your brain which helps you learn new, positive behavioural patterns.


When to use the 5 second rule

If you want to stop doubting yourself, or gain more confidence or increase your motivation then use Mel’s rule.

The moment you have an instinct to act on a goal you must physically move within 5 seconds or your brain will stop you.

5 – 4 – 3 – 2 – 1     GO!


How the 5 second rule works

Mel states that “5 seconds is how fast your self-doubt kicks in and your mind goes to work against you. That’s why you have to move even faster. When you start counting backward, you interrupt the habit of overthinking, you assert control, you focus yourself on taking new action, and you activate a different part of your brain.

The counting down from five part sounds silly, but it is actually a powerful form of metacognition.

It’s a trick you can use to outsmart your brain in order to achieve your goals. You can use it to wake up from autopilot mode, to interrupt your self-sabotaging habits, to outsmart your brain, and to take control of your life with five second decisions.

The simple act of counting backward to yourself, 5-4-3-2-1, does some shockingly powerful things in your brain. Researchers that study habits call it a “starting ritual” that triggers positive new habits.

What I can tell you from first-hand experience is this: five second decisions change everything.

In five seconds flat, you can decide to go to the gym, or decide to blow it off.

You can 5-4-3-2-1 and speak in a meeting, or decide to stay quiet.

You can 5-4-3-2-1 and put down the booze, or decide to drink

You can 5-4-3-2-1 and talk to the attractive guy, or decide to feel unworthy.


Why use the 5 second rule

Mel asks you to consider how often you hold yourself back and rob yourself of opportunity and joy.

For years, Mel shared that she lived her life in her head. She’d think about the things that could improve her life or get her closer to her dreams–like exercising, looking for a job, sharing her ideas, starting to work on something important, sending an email–but moving from thought to action seemed impossible.

Thinking about change won’t change you.

To change, you have to take action.

To improve anything, you have to find your courage to try.


The damage caused by procrastination

Mel asks, How many times today have you said to yourself, it can wait, I’ll do it tomorrow, I don’t feel like it, I’m not ready? We all do it. It’s easy to procrastinate, over think, worry and doubt yourself. Mel said that she did it for years. It was a habit.

That’s where the 5 Second Rule comes in. It will teach you to move from thinking about the fears that hold you back to taking the actions that will improve your life. You change your life one five second decision at a time. It’s a fact.

You can’t always control what you feel, but you can always make a decide to act.

And the more you use the Rule, the faster you’ll build confidence, momentum, and the results that you want.

“A simple idea with massive power.”


Check out Mel speaking:  How to Stop Screwing Yourself Over (22 minutes). This is the most viewed Ted Talk I wrote about above. I would encourage you to make time, sit down with a cuppa and enjoy this YouTube video of Mel as well.


Try out the 5 second rule for yourself. It actually is fun. I would love to hear how you go, so please leave a comment below.

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